Gois, and many of the surrounding villages in Central Portugal have river beaches, also known as fluvial beaches . I had never really heard of these before, and was interested to find out what they were when I first saw signs for them 5 years ago . I have been to 8 different ones so far, but there are dozens more that I want to check out.
They vary from place to place, but generally are areas on the river where you can swim, and sunbathe. They usually have toilet facilities, and a picnic area with tables and chairs. Some have snack bars (open in the height of summer) and some have BBQ areas.
On Monday last, the weather was scorching hot, so myself and a friend headed down to the river beach in Gois, for the first time this year.
There are three beaches in Gois. We went to the one nearest to the centre of town. The beach / snack bar is not open yet, but we took a picnic, sun cream, a bottle of wine and headed down for a lazy afternoon by the river .
The ”beach” is a large grassy area with lots of trees, and stairs down to the river. In the centre of the river is a stony island that is covered with lots of white sand for the Summer,which is great for sunbathing on and going for dips in the river to cool off .Directly opposite is the river side bar and toilets.
A bit further along under the old bridge, is a picnic area with half a dozen tables under a pergola. We headed to the picnic tables and had the place to ourselves. It was lovely and shady, as the pergola was covered in vines.
We spent a leisurely afternoon, eating, drinking, talking and just relaxing.
The river beaches are not officially open yet , and are in the process of being beautified for Summer . The one we visited will soon have the sand in place, and little wooden walkways will be constructed to enable people to get to it, or to cross over the river. The grass has recently been cut back, and soon the river side bar, which has been in hibernation from October ‘til June, will be waking up for the summer months.
I have to say, I have fallen in love with river beaches . For me they are the best of two worlds. I enjoy paddling and swimming, and I enjoy picnics in the countryside with the sounds of birds and the smells of grass and flowers . The river beach manages to combine the two .
I am not a big fan of sand, and so I prefer sunbathing on the grass under a shady tree . When I lived by the sea, I think I went to the beach half a dozen times in 6 years . The sand used to get everywhere and I always left the beach feeling like I had been sand blasted ,and dried out from the salt water .
Grass, shady trees and clean fresh water are a much more comfortable option for me .
I am now a river beach devotee !